Yikes! I can barely keep up with Instagramming and blogging all the new drink books coming out, let alone make time to read them. It's a terrific problem to have, and so many of these books are essential reading.
The following 15 books are out now or by mid-June on subjects including mead, distilling, mezcal, infusions, bourbon, gin, Italy, and more.
All links are to Amazon for purchasing. All descriptions come from the publishers and are not reviews.
A Short History of Drunkenness: How, Why, Where, and When Humankind Has Gotten Merry from the Stone Age to the Present by Mark Forsyth
From the internationally bestselling author of The Etymologicon, a lively and fascinating exploration of how, throughout history, each civilization has found a way to celebrate, or to control, the eternal human drive to get sloshed
Almost every culture on earth has drink, and where there's drink there's drunkenness. But in every age and in every place drunkenness is a little bit different. It can be religious, it can be sexual, it can be the duty of kings or the relief of peasants. It can be an offering to the ancestors, or a way of marking the end of a day's work. It can send you to sleep, or send you into battle.
Making stops all over the world, A Short History of Drunkenness traces humankind's love affair with booze from our primate ancestors through to the 20th century, answering every possible question along the way: What did people drink? How much? Who did the drinking? Of the many possible reasons, why? On the way, learn about the Neolithic Shamans, who drank to communicate with the spirit world (no pun intended), marvel at how Greeks got giddy and Sumerians got sauced, and find out how bars in the Wild West were never quite like in the movies.
This is a history of the world at its inebriated best.
Finding Mezcal: A Journey into the Liquid Soul of Mexico, with 40 Cocktails by Ron Cooper and Chantal Martineau
In this groundbreaking and deeply personal book, Ron Cooper--a leading voice in the artisanal mezcal movement, and the person largely responsible for popularizing the spirit in the United States--shares everything he knows about this storied, culturally rich, and now hugely in-demand spirit, along with 40 recipes.
In 1990, artist Ron Cooper was collaborating with craftspeople in Oaxaca, Mexico, when he found mezcal--or, as he likes to say, mezcal found him. This traditional spirit was virtually unknown in the United States at the time, and Cooper founded Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal in order to import it. Finding Mezcal recounts Cooper's love affair with the spirit and the people who make it; its meteoric rise in popularity; and the delicate balance between sharing mezcal with the world and facilitating its preservation. Each chapter introduces a new mezcal, its producer, and its place of origin, while also covering mezcal production methods and the botany of the maguey (aka agave) plant, from which mezcal is distilled. Featuring 40 recipes developed for Del Maguey by chefs and bartenders from around the world, the book is copiously illustrated with photographs, as well as Cooper's artwork and that of his friend Ken Price, who illustrated Del Maguey's now-iconic labels.
Mead: The Libations, Legends, and Lore of History's Oldest Drink by Fred Minnick
Beloved by figures as diverse as Queen Elizabeth and Thor, the Vikings and the Greek gods, mead is one of history's most storied beverages. But this mixture of fermented honey isn't just a relic of bygone eras -- it's experiencing a cultural renaissance, taking pride of place in trendy cocktail bars and craft breweries across the country. Equal parts quirky historical narrative, DIY manual, and cocktail guide, Mead is a spirited look at the drink that's been with us even longer than wine.
Mead gives readers a fascinating introduction to the rich story of this beloved beverage -- from its humble beginnings to its newfound popularity, along with its vital importance in seven historic kingdoms: Greece, Rome, the Vikings, Poland, Ethiopia, England, and Russia. Pairing a quirky, historical narrative with real practical advice, beverage expert Fred Minnick guides readers through making 25 different types of mead, as well as more than 50 cocktails, with recipes from some of the country's most sought-after mixologists.
Infused Booze: Over 60 Batched Spririts and Liqueurs to Make at Home by Kathy Kordalis
It's so simple to infuse your own spirits – all that's required is a glass bottle, your spirit of choice, some added flavors, and a little imagination and time. If you need your booze to be ready in a flash, Same-Day Bacon Bourbon is here to save the day (and blow your mind!). Savor the decadent Salted Caramel Vodka, or take summer refreshment to the next level with Cucumber Gin. Make your own Quick Limoncello for the perfect digestif or spice up your parties with Jalapeño Tequila.
With a flavored beverage to suit any occasion, Infused Booze is full of ideas to boost your spirits.
Bars, Taverns, and Dives New Yorkers Love: Where to Go, What to Drink by John Tebeau
For cocktail enthusiasts and those seeking the most real New York watering holes, this is a comprehensive guide to the city’s legendary bars, taverns, and dives across all five boroughs, featuring stories, insider tips, and delicious cocktail recipes.
From McSorley’s in the East Village and the West Village’s Ear Inn, to Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria, Queens, and Fort Defiance in Red Hook, Brooklyn, this book spans New York’s five boroughs, each entry combining an intoxicating mix of history, local color, and city lore. It includes tips like the best times of day to visit, or whether to choose bar or table, along with signature cocktail recipes, and witty sidebars on topics such as day drinking versus night drinking. Painting an intimate picture of each featured place accompanied by charming illustrations, this book stands out from typical New York City guidebooks on the market and will interest New York City tourists and natives alike, as well as cocktail enthusiasts and general bons vivants.
Session Cocktails: Low-Alcohol Drinks for Any Occasion by Drew Lazor and Editors of PUNCH
A cocktail book introducing a new cannon of low-proof drinks that highlight fresh flavors and facilitate conviviality, featuring more than 60 inventive and delicious recipes.
Bartenders are increasingly moving away from strong, spirituous cocktails toward a lighter canon of low-alcohol drinks that you can drink all day. These drinks provide an occasion for more leisurely socializing through their "sessionability"--you can have a few at a time without having to go down for a nap. Driven by a renewed interest in aperitifs and the increasing availability of liqueurs and amari in the U.S., these drinks provide new creative opportunities for professional bartenders and home hosts alike. Session Cocktails explores this trend through the history and evolution of low-proof drinks, tips on building a low-ABV (alcohol by volume) bar, and more than 60 recipes appropriate for occasions ranging from brunch to the end of the night, contributed by some of the industry's best-known mixologists including Will Elliot, Natasha David, Dale DeGroff, and Leo Robitschek.
In addition to drinks like the Mermaid Parade (Aperol, raspberry liqueur, grapefruit juice, and egg white), the Soft Shock (fino sherry, gin, lime, and mint), and Far East Side (sake, elderflower, tequila, and lemon), the book also features low-proof versions of your favorite classic cocktails.
Tabletop Distilling: How to Make Spirits, Essences, and Essential Oils with Small Stills by Kai Möller
With a small, 0.5-liter distiller, you can easily create fine brandies, whiskies, and even essential oils in your own kitchen. In this detailed how-to book, learn the tools, techniques, and safe procedures to distill raw natural materials for a variety of applications. Also included is a useful guide that explains what plants to use for different purposes; a look at the various types of stills; and a detailed, step-by-step treatment of mashing, fermenting, distilling, and refining spirits. Complete with a guide to distilling essential oils and their benefits and tips and tricks for troubleshooting and avoiding common pitfalls, this is the ideal companion for the home distiller.
Drinking Distilled: A User's Manual by Jeffrey Morgenthaler
This easy-reading, colorful introduction for cocktail beginners, with approximately 100 succinct lessons on drinking culture, spirits, and cocktail making, is delivered in the pithy, wry style Morgenthaler is known for in his instructional videos and writing for beverage publications. Novices will learn how to order a drink, how to drink with the boss, how to drink at the airport, and more. Twelve perfect starter recipes--ranging from a Dry Gin Martini to a Batched Old-Fashioned (perfect for the flask)--plus thirty original illustrations round out this distillation for new enthusiasts.
Will Travel for Beer: 101 Remarkable Journeys Every Beer Lover Should Experience by Stephen Beaumont
From the walkable breweries of Asheville, North Carolina, to the Ølfestival in Copenhagen, Oktoberfest in Brazil and the breweries of Beijing, discover 101 traditional, quirky, absurd, must-visit beer destinations across the globe. Find the world's most romantic pub crawl in Bruges, drink beer in paradise in Latin America or step into Germany via Bangkok, Thailand.
Complete with tasting notes, drinking tips and handy address lists, this is the perfect gift for both beer enthusiasts and keen travelers alike.
The Bourbon Bible by Eric Zandona
Bourbon is booming, and this guide will teach you all you need to know about America's favorite spirit. Eric Zandona - spirits specialist at the American Distilling Institute - explores 100 of the finest bourbons in the world, from the big-name classics to tiny craft distilleries, with flavor profiles and recommendations for the best way to drink each one. Also featuring recipes for 20 classic bourbon cocktails, as well as chapters on the history of bourbon, how the drink is made and the key things you need to understand when buying a bottle, The Bourbon Bible is the ultimate guide to the ultimate drink.
The Gin Dictionary by David T. Smith
The Gin Dictionary is the gin drinker's guide to the many complex terms and techniques, equipment and varieties that go into creating the perfect drink.
With hundreds of entries on everything from gin's fascinating history to the new wave of distilleries making their mark, this book will guide you through all the key factors that impact the taste of this classic drink. Ingredients, distilling techniques, tasting notes, interesting asides and features on many gin-based drinks from around the world make this beautifully packaged book the indispensable guide to everything related to gin.
The Cocktail Garden: Botanical Cocktails for Every Season by Ed Loveday and Adriana Picker
The Cocktail Garden offers cocktail recipes focused around the flavors and produce found throughout the seasons, all stunningly illustrated by internationally-renowned artist Adriana Picker. From summery raspberries and rich figs to citrus and white peaches, apples and pineapples, and infusions using a riot of herbs – basil and thyme, to sage and lavender and other flavors found in the garden. There are drinks for long hot summer afternoons spent among flowers in the garden; wine spritzers for breezy evenings on the back porch; champagne cocktails for celebrations under the apple tree; nightcaps for wintry nights by the fireside; and fruity party punches for that garden party gathering with style.
Booze & Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks by André Darlington and Tenaya Darlington
From modern craft cocktails to old standbys, prepare to shake, stir, and just plain pour your way through some of the best wax ever pressed. Wickedly designed and featuring photography throughout, Booze & Vinyl is organized by mood, from Rock to Chill, Dance, and Seduce. Each entry has liner notes that underscore the album's musical highlights and accompanying "Side A" and "Side B" cocktail recipes that complement the music's mood, imagery in the lyrics, or connect the drink to the artist. This is your guide to a rich listening session for one, two, or more.
Among the 70 featured albums are: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club, Purple Rain, Sticky Fingers, Born To Run, License to Ill, Appetite for Destruction, Thriller, Like a Virgin, Low End Theory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, Hotel California, Buena Vista Social Club, Back to Black, Pet Sounds, Vampire Weekend, and many more.
Visit boozeandvinyl.com for more info.
Doctor's Orders: Over 50 inventive cocktails to cure, revive & enliven by Chris Edwards and Dave Tregenza
Cocktails were first created as medicinal tonics, and today the best drinks still have the power to soothe and restore. In Doctor's Orders, you'll find classic cocktails and new concoctions to cure whatever ails you, whether it's a broken heart or just a serious case of the Mondays.
Chris Edwards and Dave Tregenza prescribe restorative elixirs such as the Apple a Day and delicious potions like the Jungle Fever. Make a visit to the Peach Therapist, give yourself some Thirst Aid, and remedy any hangover with Tiger's Milk, a twist on the tried and true Bloody Mary. Chapters include Remedies, packed with vitamins and antioxidants; sweet and indulgent Mood Lifters; and Fixer Uppers to put a pep in your step.
With recipes to create your own syrups, infused spirits and garnishes, as well as tips for perfect presentation, this book is just what the doctor ordered.
Cocktail Italiano: The Definitive Guide to Aperitivo: Drinks, Nibbles, and Tales of the Italian Riviera by Annette Joseph
“Aperitivo” or “Apero” is an integral part of Italian lifestyle―it is the daily ritual of meeting late afternoon or early evening for a cocktail and a few nibbles. As a renowned expert on food styling and entertaining, and currently restoring a castle in Tuscany, Annette Joseph is an experienced, authentic guide to la dolce vita of Italy.
With chapters on twelve major cities along the Italian Riviera (including San Remo, Genova, Portofino, and Santa Margarita), each will feature unique cocktail recipes as well as regional appetizers traditionally served with cocktails, often as a beachside ritual. You’ll also find sidebars offering detailed info about local distilleries, celebrity barmen, cultural idiosyncrasies of bar life, famous hotels, and much more.
Ice Cubes with Blood Orange Juice
Aperol Spritz Shakerato
Savory Mascarpone Ice Cream with Balsamic Roasted Grapes
Orange Fennel Marinated with Pecorino Shavings
Summery, beachy, and filled with beautiful photographs, Cocktail Italiano will excite readers who are drawn to the beauty and style of Italy, travel aficionados, cocktail lovers, photographers, and will offer the perfect inspiration to enjoy a bit of Italy at home (or, toss it in your bag and head to Milano!).